August 17, 2020

 
 
 
 

from Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI)
and the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition


Action Alert! Call your state senator and urge/him her to reach out to Senators Barrett, Creem, O’Connor on the MA climate bill
 

Two weeks ago the House voted on a climate change package that includes, among other things, a proposal to increase the amount of “non-carbon emitting” energy that municipally-owned electric utilities must sell. The catch? The bill defines “non-carbon emitting” to include, among other things, biomass power plants.
We have been down this road before, it is yet ANOTHER attempt to provide sufficient financial incentive for the Palmer biomass power plant to be constructed in Springfield. The Springfield groups are organizing on this. The Springfield City Council recently called on the House and Senate to fix the climate bill during the upcoming conference committee process.

City Council member Jesse Lederman has also set up a
petition on Change.org.

Our best hope of correcting this language is through a conference committee that has been set up to resolve differences between the House and Senate climate bills.
 
Take Action:
 
Please contact your state senator and ask him / her to reach out to their peers on the conference committee -Senators Barrett, Creem, and O’Connor - with the following request:
 
 •    Amend the House’s proposed new greenhouse gas emissions standard for Municipal Light Plants (Section 15 of the House climate bill) to include only resources that are qualified under the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard or the new Clean Energy Standard. (This means no biomass or trash incineration - we need to #StopBurningStuff)
 
Please share with them this powerful letter from the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition about how this proposal will harm Springfield residents who are already suffering disproportionately from air pollution.
 
Please also sign the petition.

Thank you!
Laura, PFPI


Not sure who your state Legislators are?
» Search here by entering your Zip Code.

Springfield Climate Justice Coalition also urges you to attend the Tuesday night Town Hall for more information. Also please consider attending the MassDEP Draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan hearings

» See info for both on the No Fracked Gas in Mass Events page

We will bring you more updates from PFPI and the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition as they become available.
Eversource purchase of Columbia Gas
DPU Hearings on Aug. 25 & 27, comments due Aug. 28

After the Columbia Gas disaster in the Merrimack Valley, Columbia Gas was ordered to cease doing business in Massachusetts. To do so, it needs to sell off its assets and accounts. Eversource is proposing resolving this settlement by purchasing Columbia Gas’ Massachusetts territories. This transaction is DPU Docket number 20-59. This purchase would create two more large areas of the state where both electricity and gas would only be available from one utility company. Hearing on this case are scheduled to be held online on August 25 & 27, with a comment filing deadline of August 28.

Below is an extract from the notice of public hearing:

“The Companies request that the Department approve the proposed transaction no later than September 30, 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 state of emergency issued by Governor Baker on March 10, 2020, and certain ongoing restrictions and safety measures relating to in-person events, the Department will conduct two virtual public hearings to receive comments on both the Companies’ petition and the Settling Parties’ proposed settlement agreement. The Department will conduct the hearings using Zoom video conferencing on August 25, 2020, beginning at 6:00 p.m. and August 27, 2020, beginning at 10:00a.m.


Attendees can join the August 25, 2020 hearing by entering the link, https://zoom.us/j/98300271706, from a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Attendees can join the August 27, 2020 hearing by entering the link,https://zoom.us/j/91090189958, from a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

If you anticipate providing comments via Zoom or via phone during the public hearings, please send an email by August 24, 2020, with your name, email address, and mailing address to sarah.spruce@mass.gov. If you anticipate commenting by telephone, please leave a voicemail message by August 24, 2020, at (617) 305-3632 with your name, telephone number, and mailing address. Regardless of whether an individual emails or leaves a voice message in advance, that person can provide public comment at the hearings.

Any person interested in commenting on this matter may submit written comments no later than the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on August 28,2020. At this time, all filings must be submitted only in electronic format in recognition of the difficulty that parties and the Department may have filing and receiving original copies.

All documents mustbe submitted to the Department in pdf format by e-mail attachment to peter.ray@mass.gov and sarah.spruce@mass.gov. The text of the e-mailmust specify: (1) the docket numbersof the proceedings (D.P.U.20-59/D.P.U.19-140/D.P.U.19-141); (2) the name of the person or company submitting the filing; and (3) a brief descriptive title of the document."


» Read the full notice in DPU File Room

NEWS

Weymouth: Compressor Station Construction Nearing Completion, Opposition Continues

by Lenny Rowe, WATD, South Shore Massachusetts
August 13, 2020

Callanan says the construction on the compressor station is expected to be “substantially complete” this week. Hedlund says the opposition continues for the project, 24 lawsuits have been filed in five years.

“We knew the deck was stacked against us at the federal level, but we were certainly let down on the actions we took with state regulators. The air quality permit obviously is the issue that is in front of us right now,” said Hedlund. “We have the full panel re-hearing in the First Circuit. We have the pending appeal of the remanded air quality plan approval that was recently approved by DEP. That decision was from last Friday.”

Callanan feels that their concerns raised with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have fallen on deaf ears.

» Read article  
  

Liberty Utilities nixes Granite Bridge Route 101 pipeline project

by Alex LaCasse, Seacoast Online July 31, 2020

The utility proposing to construct the controversial Granite Bridge pipeline along Route 101 between Manchester and Exeter is abandoning the project after seeking an alternative plan.

Liberty Utilities filed notice with state Public Utilities Commission Friday afternoon it now intends to enter agreement with the owner of the Concord Lateral pipeline to carry natural gas to its customers in central New Hampshire, ending its pursuit of constructing the Granite Bridge pipeline.

“We’ve been fighting this pipeline for three years,” said Epping resident Joe Perry, who was a driving force behind a 2019 citizens petition opposing Granite Bridge. “It’s a tremendous weight off our shoulders.”

» Read article             


Baltimore gas explosion: Morgan State student found dead among rubble; BGE says no leaks found

By Wilborn P. Nobles III and Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun
August 11, 2020


A second victim, a 20-year-old Morgan State University student, was found early Tuesday in the rubble of a gas explosion in Northwest Baltimore as BGE said the blast wasn’t caused by one of its gas mains.

Workers continued to investigate and clean up the scene of the explosion that also killed one woman and seriously injured at least seven other people. It ripped Monday through several row houses in the Reisterstown Station neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore, displacing 30 people.


Mass. gas ban backers press ahead after state strikes down 1st East Coast bylaw

Tom DiChristopher Theme Energy
24 July, 2020

"I don't think it changes our plan, which is to continue pushing this ban in Cambridge and as many other municipalities as we can in the commonwealth to create the steady drumbeat of pressure to address the state regulations. Because we can't continue to just burn gas. That's just not an acceptable outcome," said Zondervan, who has spearheaded the Cambridge gas ban legislation.

Brookline has the option of appealing Healey's decision to determine whether the courts agree with her office's finding, McCoy said. Arlington, Cambridge and Newton would have the option to join the case, she added.

The towns and cities could also collaborate with state lawmakers to amend the relevant state laws to allow gas bans. California's experience shows that giving local governments leeway to innovate policy can open the door to state policies, according to McCoy.

» Read article


Does your state want to cut carbon emissions? These old laws could be standing in the way.

by Emily Pontecorvo, Grist
August 10, 2020

Last fall, the town of Brookline, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, tried to solve a climate change problem that’s been put on the back burner in many state capitals: reducing emissions from fossil fuels burned in buildings. The fuels burned in boilers and furnaces, hot water heaters, and stoves account for nearly a third of the commonwealth’s greenhouse gas footprint. Following the lead of many cities in California, Brookline’s government voted overwhelmingly to pass a law restricting gas hookups in new construction. With some exceptions, the bill would force the installation of electric appliances that produce zero direct emissions.

While Brookline was the first community on the East Coast to try and limit gas systems in new buildings, similar plans were also being hatched in neighboring Cambridge and Newton, and earlier this year, New York City mayor Bill De Blasio expressed interest in a building gas ban. But all new bylaws in Massachusetts have to be reviewed by state attorney general Maura Healey before they can be enacted. In late July, Healey killed Brookline’s bill, finding that it violated state law.

The decision points to an issue that Massachusetts, New York, and California — which, unlike most states, have legally binding targets to reduce their carbon emissions to net-zero — have yet to fully grapple with: outdated policies that favor fossil fuels.

» Read article   
           
» More about better buildings

Be sure to check the No Fracked Gas in Mass Weekly News Check-In for these stories and more. If you haven't subscribed yet, look for the Subscribe option at the bottom of each week's post to get the news right in your inbox.

For news on various pipelines, FERC and the industry, climate and more, check out the Latest News Tab on our site.



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